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Maldives Defence Minister Admits Troops 'Not Capable' To Fly Aircraft Donated By India

Days after India withdrew the last of its military personnel in Maldives, Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon has admitted that Maldivian troops are not capable to fly the Dornier aircraft donated by India.

AP
Maldives Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon | Photo: AP
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Days after India withdrew the last of its military personnel in Maldives, Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon has admitted that Maldivian troops are not capable to fly the Dornier aircraft donated by India. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, the Maldivian minister acknowledged that the country's defence forces cannot operate the three Indian aircraft.

The defence minister's comments come a day after Maldives' foreign minister Moosa Zameer confirmed that India had withdrawn 76 military personnel and replaced them with civilian personnel from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

As per local news portal Adhadhu, the defence minister stated that the Maldives National Defence Force "still does not have" soldiers capable of flying the aircraft donated by the Indian government.

The minister added that while a few soldiers were undergoing training under the agreement formulated with the Indian government, many are still not capable to operate the Dorniers.

"As it was a training that required passing various stages, our soldiers had not reached completion due to various reasons. Therefore, there aren't any people in our force at the moment who are licensed or fully operational to fly the AHL platforms and Dornier," stated Ghassan.

Contrary to Ghassan's comments, many senior Maldivian officials from the current government during the Solih administration had argued that the MDNF had many capable pilots and called for the expulsion of Indian personnel.

India withdrew its military personnel amid its row with the island nation which erupted following PM Modi's visit to the Lakshadweep Islands in January 2024.

Mohamed Muizzu had demanded the removal of Indian troops and reduce the overall influence India has over the nation during his 'India Out' campaigning days and once he was elected as President. One of the first orders passed by Muizzu was the removal of Indian military troops from the island.

Indian troops were present on the island as part of an agreement between the two governments during former Presidents Mohamed Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen's governments and due to the Dornier aircraft donated during former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's tenure.

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